A Novel Opportunity

by: Rick Karlsruher

Across the Margin welcomes a guest post from Rick Karlsruher, founder of Noveltunity, an e-book club that aims to provide an innovative platform for new writers…

A platform for new writers to be heard…  

First I’d like to thank Across The Margin for inviting me to do a guest blog about Noveltunity.    

Formost of my adult life, I have been involved in international marketing and management. During this time few industries have changed as quickly and as enormously as publishing has. It was always mysterious to outsiders, but the Internet has made it even more confusing and frustrating to those trying to have their voices heard.

When I wasn’t working I was writing, and during my adulthood I’ve seen my abilities as a writer blossom and grow. But the changing of the rules, the moving of barriers and the torrent of new content stymied me from having my voice heard. Realizing this was happening to thousands of readers and writers like me, it led me to think about creating a solution. Hopefully, this solution will be Noveltunity.

How Hollywood dream became a horror story…

All of this started in the 1980’s, when I was living in my hometown of Philadelphia. I had written a movie script called Standoff and it received a lot of positive feedback from comedy legends Dick Martin, of Laugh-In fame, and National Lampoon’s Matty Simmons.

I had several investors lined up who were interested in seeing the movie made but I became so wrapped up in the excitement that I wasn’t paying close enough attention to what was really going on. In hindsight I should have realized early on that something strange was happening with my investors but alas I did not. Rather quickly I came to learn that my main investor had become a target of the IRS and the FBI and that I was an unwitting pawn in a government sting attempt.

Not wanting to stick around for a second more, I left Philadelphia and headed west, settling down in Los Angeles. Little did I know that this would be the catalyst for a Homeric odyssey that would have scared Stephen King and frightened Freddie Krueger. Even odder would it be to think it that it would someday lead directly to my creating a book club.

Since the conclusion of this disastrous chapter of my life, I have told friends snippets of my story. For nearly a quarter of a century, I was begged and cajoled to write a book about this adventure. This reached fever pitch a couple of years ago. My friends were relentless in their persistence and hundreds of people on an Internet message board I frequented demanded that I write about it.

A story almost told…                                                                                                              

And write about it I eventually did.I sat down and put it all into the computer, pouring my heart and soul into my words. Within the first two weeks of finishing it several hundred copies had been sold. People loved it.

Then someone suggested that I upload it to Smashwords so I did. It became the #1 memoir and #1 non-fiction seller for its first couple of weeks on the site. By the end of the first month, it was the #8 highest reviewed book in Smashwords history. I had even gotten a five star review from a New Times bestselling author!

This led me to do several radio interviews that were summarily well received. I was getting a ton of positive feedback and I began to think that I might have a story worth selling. Using my background in marketing and my ability to spin a story, I created what I believed to be a very strong package worthy of an agent or publisher’s interest. I couldn’t fail. Someone would sign me.

I sent the packages out and waited. Over and over, I got the same response, “What’s your platform?”

I thought I had showed them a platform for success. Time after time their responses seemed lazy and canned. This got me to thinking that if what I sent wasn’t even a good enough foundation for a “platform” then what chance would other aspiring writers have?

If the opportunities didn’t exist for people with worthwhile stories to tell, stories that people wanted to hear, I decided that I would create it. This is how Noveltunity was born.

A book club featuring new and undiscovered writers…  

Smashwords, Amazon and Goodreads, to name a few, are all theoretically good places for new writers to get started. However, how can you stand out from the thousands of other unknown authors all jockeying for their moment in the spotlight? This was the most important question that I set out to answer.

As I was thinking about this, I realized that there were millions of readers around the world who would love to truly “discover” the next Stephanie Meyer, John Grisham or JK Rowling. They all had the same problem. There are just too many choices.

How could I help readers and writers? eBooks seemed like a logical place to start. Their presence on the marketplace is expanding and they are very inexpensive and easy to produce and distribute. Then it came to me. Noveltunity would be an eBook/audio book club that exclusively featured new or undiscovered writers from around the world.

Readers to vote on book club selections…          

Noveltunity was starting to take shape. I did some research, speaking with hundreds of habitual readers and a huge percentage told me they wished they could have some input into what got published. This was a great idea! We would allow readers to vote on upcoming choices.

Each month our members will have 10-12 books to vote for. They will see a video and read a couple of chapters. Noveltunity will empower the readers to make the choices concerning what they will read.

On top of that, our friends at Net Conference will provide state-of-the-art webinar rooms that can accommodate 2-2000 people at any time. Eight people can be presenters. You’ll meet the authors and make friends from around the world.  Book clubs are no longer comprised of people from your surrounding neighborhood.

Members will be able to schedule meetings when it fits their schedule. It’s your club.

As we grow, there will be classes about writing, marketing and media. When we reach critical mass, there will be weekend events for members and readers to get together at regional, national and international locations.

Putting the power back in your hands…                                                                       

Over the past several months, I have done a soft PR rollout via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The response has been both exciting and thoroughly humbling. I wish I could thank personally each and every one of the 1500 people from nearly 30 countries living on every continent with the exception of Antarctica who have given their praise. Publishers from the US, UK, Canada, India, Hong Kong and Australia have generously reached out to do stories about Noveltunity or ask me to do a guest blogs to help spread our message.

The breadth of responses from such varied cultures proves we are onto a great idea. We’d love to have your help as we take book clubs into the 21st century.

The big news is that during August we’ll be starting a crowd-funding campaign on RocketHub.

We’d appreciate any help you give us. We are trying to build up a huge following of friends and admirers to help share our story with the world.

Noveltunity will celebrate readers and writers.

If anyone has any questions or comments for Rick Karlsruher please feel free to contact him directly: rick@noveltunity.com

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